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Brussels, 5 May 2011

Youth on the Move: strengthening support for Europe's young people, Florence, 6-10 May

Brussels, 5 May - The European Commission is organising a five-day programme of events in the Italian city of Florence from 6-10 May to promote 'Youth on the Move', the EU initiative aimed at improving education, tackling youth unemployment and encouraging study and training abroad. On 6 May, Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will open a 200 sq metre Youth on the Move tent in the city centre; this will be the focal point for information and awareness-raising activities on the benefits of study, training and volunteering abroad. Independent studies show this experience can boost employability. On 9 May, the Commissioner will participate in a major conference on Europe after the Lisbon Treaty, which will be opened by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek.

The Youth on the Move programme is a central part of the 'Festival dell’Europa', organised by the European University Institute and local authorities in Florence. The Youth on the Move tent, erected in the city's historic Piazza della Signoria, will provide a meeting place for young people who will be able to hear first-hand from students who have already spent time studying, training or volunteering abroad with the support of EU-funded schemes such as Erasmus and Youth in Action.

Among those taking part will be two of Italy's Youth on the Move 'ambassadors' - Paola Romagnani, a successful biomedicine researcher, and Selene Biffi, founder of the Youth Action for Change group.

"Youth on the Move is at the heart of the European Commission's strategy for young people and I hope that events like this will encourage more of them in future to take up the opportunity to study, train or volunteer abroad. 'Learning mobility' is a superb way to acquire valuable skills and experience. It increases people's adaptability as well as their communication and intercultural skills. It's also a great way of learning to speak confidently in another language," said Commissioner Vassiliou.

During her visit to Florence, the Commissioner will participate in a reading event with Italian children and their parents as part of her literacy campaign, aimed at encouraging children - and their parents - to read more. "This isn't just about reading to learn, it's about being able to better appreciate the beauty that surrounds us in a city like Florence," added the Commissioner.

Youth on the Move is one of the seven flagship initiatives in the 'Europe 2020' strategy, which seeks to boost employment and sustainable growth. Besides learning mobility, Youth on the Move promotes the modernisation of higher education and envisages the introduction of a European student loan facility aimed at encouraging the transnational mobility of Masters' degree students, who often attract little or no financial support.

Next steps:

The Youth on the Move event in Florence is part of a pan-European campaign which has already seen thousands of young people getting involved in similar events in Hungary, France, Germany and Poland. The next stop for the Youth on the Move 'roadshow' will be Antwerp in Belgium on 17 May. Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Commissioner Vassiliou will take part in a debate with young people and youth experts in the context of the 2011 European Youth Week. President Barroso will present awards for outstanding European Voluntary Service projects supported by the Youth in Action programme and Commissioner Vassiliou will announce the results of a new Eurobarometer survey on youth and education.

On May 19, at the Education, Culture and Youth Council in Brussels, EU Ministers are set to approve a policy recommendation on removing obstacles to learning mobility. In the autumn, the Commission will present an updated EU reform agenda for higher education.

More information:

Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou's website:

Youth on the Move website:

Youth on the Move Communication:

Youth on the Move: Citizens' summary:

Proposal for a Council Recommendation on learning mobility:

Staff working paper: Results of the 2009 public consultation on learning mobility:

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